Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beer Review - Saison Imperial

De Proef Brouwerij Saison Imperial Belgian Farmhouse Ale - 8.5% ABV

Ah, summer.  It's time for the beer afficionados to turn toward the lighter beers.  Lighter beers like the lagers, the kolsch, the pilsners, the pale ales, and the hefeweissens.  Another summertime style is the cousin of the hefeweissen is the saison.  So is the Imperial Saison one of these summer treats?  Not really. 

De Proef Brouwerij is one of the oddest breweries out there.  The “proef” (proef is Dutch for "test")brewery is specifically equipped for the development and production of beers for third parties.  "Huh"?  Many of the new beer lines developed by beer architects (yes, there really is such a thing, start up breweries, or existing breweries who wish to try out a new recipe are perfected by this R&D brewery.They also have scientists on staff who conduct research to improve beer quality.  So in other words my fellow lab rats, you are drinking a lab experiment.

The hazy amber brew poured with a decent head that did not persist and left nice lacing.  The smell was of sweet with dark fruits, earth, bread and malts.  The medium body was a bit of a tough drink.  It's complexity was such that you are forced to drink it slow.  Quite sweet with the flavors of fig, molasses, malts in the front and a bit of sour notes at the end of the swallow.  Really not a great example of a saison and too sweet for a quick drinking summer beer.  Interesting though and delicious.

De Proef Brouwerij
Doornzelestraat 20
9080 Lochristi

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beltline West - Coconut Thai Grill

Coconut Thai Grill - Carrollton, TX

Once upon there were 3 restauranteurs who started a little restaurant, which was called Asian Mint.  The restaurant was an Asian fusion concept with a leaning toward Thai, and it enjoyed moderate success.  However there was dissention amongst the owners on which direction to take the restaurant, with 2 of the owners wanting to change the menu to be more familiar Chinese and the chef , from Thailand, wamted to keep the menu with more Thai dishes.  In the end, Goldilocks .... er...Marayat Gary, was bought out by the 2 trolls and went off into history ..... or did she?

Won Ton Soup
At the corner of Webb Chapel and Beltline in Carrollton stands an old abandoned Long John Silver's.  Indeed, it is still recognizable as a Long John Silver's, except now the dishes being created in the kitchen are delicious and won't give you gas.  You will also recognize the paintings inside as being from the same artist who created the artwork at the Asian Mint, which was Marayat's daughter.

Pad Ke Mao
Much like Chinese dishes prepared in American restaurants only vaguely resemble their counterparts in China, Thai dishes prepared in the U.S. are quite dissimilar to their original dishes.  The problem with the American dishes is that they have been changes to suit the tastes of many American.  Sweeter, with less fire.  Sugared up so much that many dishes are almost as sweet as desserts.  Coconut Thai Grill follows it's origins perfectly with dishes that are savory, with enough heat to make you sweat. 

Chicken w/ Peanut Sauce
With nary a man in site, Marayat and her ladies create perfectly prepared Thai dishes like Tom Kha soup, Larb, Pad Thai along with a multitude of other Thai dishes that you will adore.  Much like the original Asian Mint, you will also find hybrid dishes like Spicy Catfish (my fave) along with Chinese standards.  There are also vegetarian and gluten free dishes added for those with different dietary needs.

Make the drive, enjoy the food.  Delightful.

Mango Sticky Rice
Coconut Thai Grill
2512 East Beltline
Carrollton, TX 75006

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beer Review - Scotch Silly

Brasserie de Silly Scotch Ale - 7.5% ABV

Oh sure, everyone knows that the Scottish make Scotch, but not that many people know that some dandy ales are made is Scotland as well.  Take this Silly Scotch for ins .......what was that?  Silly Scotch is not make in Scotlant?  But it has silly in it's name and silly is definitely an English word, right?  Wrong?  It's taken from the French word sille, which means stream. It's made in Belgium?  Crap.  I was trying my best to get off the Belgium train and review a beer from somewhere else.  Try reading the label next time?  Kiss my ass.

Silly, being a French word should be pronounced See-yee which sounds so silly that I am refusing to pronounce it the correct way.  Pronouncing Silly as silly is silly damnit.  The Brasserie de Silly was founded in 1850 and only recently expanded their line and began exporting.

Actually, even though it is called a Scotch ale, it is really quite different.  Whereas Scotch ales are typically malty, dry and not so sweet, this ale is sweet and yeasty. 

The beer poured cloudy goldish-brown with very little head to speak of and not much in the way of carbonation.  It smelled of hops, spices and a bit of the alcolol ethers.  Like it's scotch ale namesake there was plenty of malts flavor, but it's Belgian heritage shows through with the prevalent flavor of typical Belgian yeasts.  It's sweet and hoppy and has lots of spices to explore and underlying vanilla flavor.  The hops provide a bit more interest than the typical Belgian ale and are a welcome addition.

I think that this beer is another genre buster and while named a Scotch ale, it really isn't.  If you are a dumbass like me and fail to read the label, you may be dissappointed with this as a Scotch ale, but you will not be dissappointed with your Belgian ale.  You can find this one in several locations including the Bottle Shop, Spec's and Total Wine.  Cheers.

Brasserie de Silly
rue Ville Basse, 2
7830 Silly [Belgium]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beer Review - Adelscott

Brasserie Fischer Adelscott - 5.8% ABV

I first discovered this beer in 1998 while attending World Cup matches in France.  At the same time I was attempting to drink one of every kind of beer that the bar down the street from our hotel had, and they had a lot.  Sometime while playing the game of Wheel of Dumbass I stumbled across one that left a lasting impression....Adelscott, which was the first smoked beer that I ever tasted as well.  Indeed, I enjoy the beer so much that it is the first beer I order on subsequent visits to France.
Trying to find out information about where Adelscott is made is quite a task.  Fischer Brewery was founded in Strasbourg in 1821 but relocated to Schiligheim in 1854.  They began producing Adelscott in 1982 and was the first beer using smoked whiskey malts to flavor their beer.  This style of beer has been copied by many and has become so popular that the smoked beer is now it's own sub-category.  Brasserie Fischer was bought in 1996 by the Heinekin group and thus far they have managed to not ruin the beer, even though they closed the brewery in 2009 and split the operation to 2 different breweries.  They have also watered down the beer so that the flavors are not as intense and the ABV has dropped from 6.4% to 5.8%, but still it remains quite drinkable.  Have I ever mentioned that I am not a fan of Heinekin?

Adelscott is in fact a lager with the smoked whiskey malts supplying the color and flavor.  It is malty and a bit sweet and a bit sticky as well with little in the way of hops showing up but a bit of bitterness supplied by the smokiness.  If you like whiskey and 7 you will probably like this beer.  It would make a decent session beer if you can find it here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beer Review - Lancelot

Cervoise Lancelot, Lancelot Belgian Style Pale Ale - 6% ABV

This beer find surprised the holy hell out of me because we found it visiting one of the most over-run places on the planet.  The tiny island/castle gets over 3 million visitors a year and is one big tourist trap.  Grungy, old hotels and severly overpriced restaurants with mediocre food served by indifferent staff and one tiny creperie with several dandy, regional beers.  Who knew?

Cervoiserie de Lancelot was founded in 1990 by Bernard Lancelot (no, it was not named after King Arthurs sidekick, nice guess though) in a chateau built in the late 1400's.  It quickly outgrew it's environs and was moved to the site of an old gold mine with amazingly pure water.  All of the 7 beers that they produce are top fermented, unfiltered, organic and unpasteurized.

The beer pours with a huge head that quickly dissappated and with a very light nose tha smelled mostly of malts and a bit of hops.  The texture was quite fine and was only lightly carbonated.  The full flavor was very balanced with a bit of the honey that they used in the brewing process and the malts.  Really nicely balanced with a nice finish and too damned easy to drink.  Surprised?  Yes indeed.

Brasserie Lancelot
56460 Le Roc St André

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Achouffe Brewery Tour

Brasserie D'Achouffe

So early last year we went to a beer dinner at the Meddlesome Moth featuring the beers from the Brasserie D'Achouffe in the village of Achouffe, Belgium.  It was a very small gathering and the featured speaker was the founder of the brewery, Chris Bauweraerts, an entertaining fellow of Flemish decent who charmed the group silly with animated stories of the beginnings of the brewery that he started with his brother in law.  Perhaps he was caught up in the moment or perhaps it was a U.S. style 'Let's do lunch' type of statement, but he invited us to come to Achouffe and give us a tour of the brewery.  So we did.

Mr. Bauweraerts, though not longer the owner of the brewery (now owned by Duvel) he is still employed by Duvel to be their ambassador. He travels worldwide attending beer festivals, visiting distributors and schmoozing with other brewers. He is kind of like a beer geek's rock star and is visited by the biggest names in the American craft beer industry. We are not brewers, nor writers of multi-read publications and being relative nobodies in the beer world (other than this blog) we really didn't expect much from the tour. 

The town of Achouffe is tiny, quiet and is a one industry town with the brewery being pretty much the only game in town. Chris met us at the brewery early in the morning, before the brewery opened and before the beer tourists and geeks started gathering.

 For the next hour or so he and his assistant gave us the tour, with stories of the founding and growth of the brand as well as impressing us with his technical expertise.  We were quite impressed and flattered that he had taken time out of his busy day to give the dog and pony show to us Texas bumpkins.  Very kind indeed.  But he did not take his leave after the tour as we expected, he spent the next couple of hours with us having lunch, showing us the town (along with his favorite tree) and showing us his favorite hang out, the InterPol Pub, which hopefully you read about earlier.

When you visit Achouffe (you should, you know, it's cool as shit) you can stay with Pol and Tine at the Vieille Forge ( or with our friends Ivo and Anja at Hotel l'Espine ( which is a short stroll away from the brewery. 

After the tour you should hang out at 'Taverne-Restaurant'  where you can sit by the fire continue to feed your buzz with all of the beers from the brewerey.  The chef, Jean-Luc Teugels prepares fine versions of traditional Belgian fare (I highly recommend the meat balls) and has a dandy patio where you can spend your day.

I cannot put into words how flattered we are to have Mr. Bauweraerts spend so much time with us and for his hospitality.  I will now return to my sarcastic, smart ass self and will quit gushing like a school girl.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Beer Review - Westvleteren 12

Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) Westvleteren 12 - 10.2% ABV

I have been delaying writing this review due to the fact that I don't know what to say.  Westvleteren 12 is consistently rated as the best beer in the world, so what in the world can I write that has not already been written?  I really don't wish to be glib, or sound pompous, but this beer deserves all of the praise that it gets ..... it is stunningly good.

Near the Medieval city of Ypres is the small village of Vleteren, which has an Abbey called Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren.  In 1838 the trappist monks began producing the nectar of the gods  The abbott will tell anyone who asks that they are not brewers, they are monks who brew beer to fund their religious lifestyle.  Their 3 beers are of limited availability and the first thing that you notice when you get one of the beers is that the bottles have no labels and that the only way to tell the 3 beers apart is by the color of the caps.  The 12 has the gold cap.

Let me keep this as simple as I can.  I will give you my impressions and I am afraid that you wlll have to judge whether this is the best beer in the world for yourself.

The beer is a cloudy dark brown color with lots of goodies floating around and pours with a huge head that rapidly dissipates.  The smell is quite rich with malts, sugars and alcohol ethers prevalent.  The beer has more carbonation than expected, more than most belgians that you will try.  The flavors are earthy with malts and dark fruits and not as sweet as expected.  The complexity is amazing and the balance of flavors is unlike any other beer that I have tried making it hard to pick out any flavors as dominant.  As we sipped we simply looked at each other in stunned silence, knowing that we were in the presence of greatness.

Brouwerij Westvleteren
Donkerstraat 12
Westvleteren 8640

Beer Review - Bruges Zot

De Halve Maan Braurei Bruges Zot Dubbel - 7.5% ABV

"Hey, let's head over to Bruges and pound through all of the breweries there"!
"Sounds like a plan, load up".
Those of you who are smarter than I am....and there are many....would probably do your research before you hopped in your car to road trip to the breweries. Me? No man, I was an idiot....kind of. Apparently there is only one brewery left in Bruges, but lucky for us it is fantastic. As breweries in this part of the world go, this one is relatively new, having begun their operation in 1856. They are still family owned and operated with the 6th generation of Maes family now in charge of De Halve Maan (the half moon).

The brand is Bruges Zot and if you have been lucky enough to try one of their beers it was likely the blonde, which is also a damned fine beer, but the dubbel is newish and as you may have noticed I usually lean toward dark beers if given a choice, and I was. The Dubbel is brewed with 6 different malts and is one full flavored malty mouthfull of fun. The beer did, however, have a surprisingly bitter aftertaste which is provided by Tcheque Saas hops. This beer is much more complex than the typical dubbel and worth seeking out.


You have read enough of my crappy reviews that I will throw in a double secret bonus review. Thank you for not falling asleep.

De Halve Maan has a special line of artisan beers called Straffe Hendrik (strong Henry) named for the founder of the brewery. Incidentally, every first son of each generation is named after the founder. In 1981 the city of Bruges created a new statue of Saint Bernardus (no, not our St. Bernardus, the real one....the patron saint of beer brewers) and the mayor wanted a special beer to consecrate the statue. Thus, De Halve Maan created this true Belgian triple with the same 6 malts as their other brews, the same Saaz hops and additionally Styrian Golden hops for a huge face full of magnificence. It also pack in 9% ABV which bitch slapped me across the room. Mother Goose what a great beer. I have no idea if this is available in the U.S. but for goodness sake if you happen to find it grab it. Better yet, come to the brewery and take the tour and then eat at the superior fare from their restaurant. 

The Restaurant serves Belgian Classics like Carbonade Flammande and Quiche....with all dishes chosen for their pairability with the brews.

Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan
Walplein 26
B - 8000 Bruges

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beer Review - Barbar

Brasserie Lefebvre Barbar Belgian Ale - 8% ABV

Brasserie Lefebvre (no, this is not a type-o, that is how it is spelled) is a family brewery that began production in 1876 and have quite a range of products. They make Hopus, Floreffe Abbey Ales, Blanche de Brussels, Krieks and many others. If you are a beer explorer you have probably had Barbar, which is sporadically available in Dallas.

The brewery began producing Barbar in 2009 and market as an ancient brew, or a mead if you will, inasmuch as that they use honey in the ybrewing process in lieu of sugar. The color is a deep gold and the smell is fresh with witte undertones. The sweetness from the honey in the first flavor that hits your palate. Citrus, coriander, ginger, anise and milk are the underlying flavor notes with very little in the way of hops for balance.
This one is more like a desert beer for me and a bit too sweet to put down more than one at a sitting. Good though.

Brasserie Lefebvre
Chemin du Croly 54
B-1430 Quenast Belgium

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beer Review - Leffe 9*

Abbaye de Leffe 9 degrees - 9% ABV

So do you think that the American craft beer movement has any effect on
beers being produced in Europe? Perhaps not directly. I have not found one of the bars or pubs with a large selection of beers carrying any of the American craft brews. However, I have found many of the old established brewers releasing new lines of beer with increases hops and flavor. For instance Abbaye de Leffe has been producing beers since 1200 with recipes handed down from generation to generation for over 800 years. Suddenly they decided to release a new beer with a face full of flavors.

9 degrees is much like the staid Leffe Blonde in character, but then they gave it a dose of enhancement that is kind of hard to pin down, kind of like Lance Armstrong. What they did is use a new brewing process which brews the beers at a slightly higher temperature. The result is a dark golden beer that pours with an insignificant head and has the smell of a Saison. The flavor is fairly sweet up front but finishes with a hoppy bite that does not linger. The underlying spices and slight smokiness add quite a complex character. of course you can be assured that even with this new line the brewers will stick with the tradition of producing a magnificent, balanced beer.

9 degrees is not available in the States yet and may never make the jump, but they are surely determined to keep the U.S. brewers from jumping the other way.

Abbaye Notre Dame de Leffe S.A.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beer Review - InterPol Brewery

Brewery InterPol Witte Pol (6.0% ABV) & Zwarte Pol (6.5% ABV)

See this fellow here? His name is Pol.

He makes this fantastic Witte.

And this delicious double.

In his tiny brewery.

Located within this tiny pub.

The interesting thing about Pol and his little pub is that many of the major players of the U.S. craft brewing scene have sat here with Pol chatting and drinking until the wee hours of the morning. Garrett Oliver, Steven Pauwell, and Steve Dresler are among those who have visited and not talked about beer, because Pol refuses to talk about brewing. So why do they come? Is it because Pol brews great beer? I must say that Pol does make some dandy beer. Is it because Pol is an interesting fellow? I must say that Pol is pretty damned amusing. Is it because Chris Bauweraerts (the founder of the Achouffe brewing company) lives around the corner and hangs out here? Chris does ride his bike over in the evenings. I am afraid that I cannot say for sure, you are just going to have to make the trip yourself and see. Cheers!
La Vieille Forge
Mont 33
6661 Mont, Belgium

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Beer Review - Gertrude Rot

Stade Ratskeller Gertrude Red - ??? ABV

Sorry, I accidentally deleted this one so I am re-posting.

Do you know what a Rathaus is in Germany? City Hall. Yeah, I know the translation doesn't mean rat house, but I like the way it sounds anyway. I also like the thought of associating politicians with rats. Rather poetic don't you think? Perhaps we should change the name of Dallas city hall to the Dallas Rathaus. Works for me.

Now the Ratskeller is the basement below city hall and what this means is below the city hall of Stade is a brewery and restaurant. Another genius idea and it is too bad it took the Germans to come up with a positive use for city hall.

Oh yes, the beer. The smell was masked by the clouds of cigarette smoke from the soccer fans enjoying the quarter final match of Bayern Munchen vs Real Madrid. The flavor was nicely earthy, a bit sweet and surprisingly dry without being hoppy. I was unable to find anyone who could tell me what the alcohol content was, but I do know that after several we were singing along with the Bayern fans. Singing songs we didn't know in a language that we don't speak. Hooray beer!